Take a sultry tropical location, add a dash of diversity and a heaping scoop of fun. This is Miami. Beyond the high-speed chases and‘80s resort-wear fashion of TV crime dramas is an altruistic and artistic city flanked by some of America’s best beaches.
Miami has something for everyone: South Beach entertains party-goers and sun worshipers; Zoo Miami and the Miami Seaquarium offer a great day out for families; foodies find their inner nirvana sampling fresh seafood and Cuban delicacies throughout Little Havana.
Miami may be synonymous with vice but it's also a serious tourist town. Miami is also a gateway to the Caribbean, a short hop to the Everglades and a centre of culture from Cuba and beyond.
Find family fun at...
- Free range Zoo Miami
- Miami Children's Museum
- Jungle Island's bird habitats
The jewel in Miami's crown is undoubtedly South Beach: the party-friendly stretch of sand renowned for its wild Spring Break adventures, when students from across the United States descend on Miami each Spring to celebrate their university holidays. If the action is too intense, head north to the quieter but no less interesting North Beach to soak up some of Florida's year-round sun.
Continuing the aquatic theme is Miami's popular Seaquarium, where visitors can watch killer whales and dolphins frolic in the tropical sea waters. Another of the most popular things to do in Miami is visit the nearby Everglades – a vast region of natural swampland best explored on hovercraft. Off the coast, Key Biscayne delivers delightful seclusion and soft sand beaches.
Best places to take a dip are...
- South Beach (atmosphere)
- Cape Florida/Key Biscayne (family)
- Haulover Beach (surf)
Eat and Drink
Miami restaurants are heralded for their 'New World' cuisine; an exotic mix of Latin American and Caribbean influences cooked with traditional European precision. Typical Miami dishes include fresh seafood infused with hot Caribbean spices and traditional Cuban dishes.
One of the finest exponents of Cuban cuisine is La Carreta, which serves authentic dishes from across the Straits of Florida 24 hours a day. Another local favourite is Baleen at Grove Isle Hotel and Spa – a consistent award-winner for its ever-changing menu of fine dining.
Miami's drinking establishments tend to be upmarket in their outlook and many are housed in the city's top-end hotels. Dress to impress if you're planning to drink around South Beach as getting past security can be a tough ask.
Sample Florida fare like...
- A ‘cafe cubano’ espresso
- Fritas (Cuban style burger)
- Abuela Maria ice cream
Where to Stay
Art Deco architecture reigns supreme in Miami, owing to the city's rapid expansion during the 1920s and '30s. Many of the finest Miami hotels are Art Deco masterpieces, particularly around the popular South Beach area. The Mutiny Hotel in the heart of Coconut Grove is a popular choice, while The Anglers Resort at South Beach is an upscale resort featuring inspired interior designs.
Numerous high-end hotels populate downtown Miami, including the JW Marriott Marquis Miami and the stunning Hotel Beaux Arts, which boasts spectacular views through its floor-to-ceiling windows. A fantastic mid-range option is the Miami Inn and Suites, which is well known for its outstanding concierge service.
Soak up the sun on...
- North Shore Park Beach
- Virginia Key Beach
- 85th Street Beach
Trendy Miami is one of the fashion capitals of the United States and it's common to see the streets of South Beach teeming with well-dressed locals. Not surprisingly, upscale boutiques are one of the hallmarks of Miami shopping and you can find plenty of exclusive outlets across the Bay and downtown.
One of the best known is The Webster – you can expect to spend hundreds of dollars on a single item in what is one of Miami's most expensive stores. For a cheaper alternative, head to the Lincoln Road Antique and Collectible Markets, where you can pick up some unique souvenirs.
Miami like a Local
Miami makes the most of its stunning natural location and Art Deco architecture by welcoming millions of tourists to the various festivals and major events it hosts each year. The annual Art Basel Miami is one of the world's most popular art fairs and attracts celebrities and art aficionados eager to parlay some serious cash into their collections.
Another of Miami's most popular events is the yearly Miami Masters tennis tournament – regarded as one of the biggest tennis tournaments outside the four Grand Slam events. The South Beach Wine and Food Festival is growing in stature and has helped to cement the city's reputation as a serious food town. Over the top in every sense, Miami is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Take a walking tour through...
- Wynwood Art District
- South Beach’s Art Deco District
- Little Havana Food Tour